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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1459 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

As I say, I find it frustrating at times, and I am sure that other members do, but that is the way he operates. So, it was not an unusual thing for Mr Humphries. (Further extension of time granted) I will try to be brief. I just want to make another few points.

Mr Speaker, the other issue that has been raised is a vendetta. A number of times people have raised the issue of whether there is a vendetta against Mr Humphries. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that in my dealings with Mr Collaery on a number of occasions I was certainly aware of Mr Collaery's decisions being made on the basis of a personal relationship with and attitude to people. There is no doubt in my mind that any discussion of a vendetta would open a discussion about how Mr Collaery operates much more than it would open a discussion about how Mr Humphries operates.

The most important thing for us to remember is the legal process. The first law officer, having the opinion - nothing else - that a lawyer within the Territory was not operating in the best way for the legal profession, said to the Law Society, "Can you look into this lawyer? These are the issues that I have concern about", and left it to the Law Society. That is not an irresponsible action. That is a most responsible action. It is not something about which we should have a motion of want of confidence, censure or grave concern. If anything, we should have a motion of congratulations to Mr Humphries for carrying out his duties appropriately. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I receive many complaints, and I think that we have a better process in Health. Those complaints I refer to the Health Complaints Commissioner as a matter of course. Serious complaints come to me about surgeons and doctors in this city, and for some of those complaints I ensure that there is a full and appropriate process, and it has nothing to do with whether I know them personally. By the way, I have met almost all of the surgeons and specialists in this Territory on at least one occasion, but the process is done at arm's length. Mr Humphries sought an arm's-length process, as was his responsibility, and I have to say congratulations to him for that.

MR OSBORNE (12.24): I will be brief. I just ask that you keep an eye on this bloke for interjections because he is annoying me, Mr Speaker. Mr Kaine stood up and said earlier today that his sole motive for doing what he did was to help the Bender family. I would ask this question: How does what we are doing today help them one little bit? I would suggest that by tabling the letter, one can only assume at the behest of Mr Collaery, and by dragging this matter through the media he has only caused them more pain. I think that the people who have been involved in this whole sorry saga should hang their heads in shame. I have felt sick in the stomach all day. There has been no proof whatsoever that Mr Humphries was behind his staffer attending the Bender household. In fact, we have heard evidence to the contrary, that his staffer attended the household at the request of the president of the Croatian Congress.

Mr Speaker, I have had dealings with the staffer involved during my time here and I have to say that, although we have had differences on some political issues, I have the utmost respect for her. Nevertheless, Mr Humphries has made it quite clear that he was not behind the visit. I accept that. We could argue until the cows come home over the timing of the complaint. I understand that it was not the Attorney-General who made the issue public. I would like to hear from the Attorney-General, though, on the issue of the four-month delay. It is something that is still hanging over this whole debate and I do hope that he will stand up and clarify why it took so long.

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